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  • The Bearden of Knowledge

Forbidden World

Dir. Allan Holtzman (1982)

A genetic experiment begins feeding on scientists in the distant future.


Today, I'm gonna do something different. Fans of this genre know the name Roger Corman. It's not new news that he passed away, on May 9th, at the young age of 98. His presence will be missed, and it will reverberate throughout all films. RIP, Roger!

This is my review of one of my favorite Corman productions and a pretty decent Alien rip-off! Far from perfect, but entertaining as fuck! Directed by Alan Holzman and starring Jessie Vint (Chinatown) as Mike Colby, June Chadwick (This is Spinal Tap) as Dr. Barbara Glaser and young, doe-eyed beauty Dawn Dunlap (Barbarian Queen) as Tracy.

We open on a ship in space. A robot who (more than a little resembles a stormtrooper) wakes up Mike from a hyper-sleep chamber to tell him they are being attacked. Mike and robot Sam shoot missiles at the attacking vessel and blow it to bits! Huzzah! The end! No, wait... Sam informs Mike that as a Marshall, his mission just got extended. He's been requested by a scientific team doing research on the planet Xarbia. They have problems only a rough and tumble space Marshall can solve. Mike arrives on the planet and meets the rest of the canon fodder. Erm, I mean, scientific team: Linden Chile stars as Dr. Gordon Hauser, Scott Paulin as Earl, Fox Harris as Dr. Cal and Michael Bowen as Jimmy.

The team is there to create a new sustainable food source. They've somewhat succeeded by creating Subject 20, a "metamorph" that can alter its DNA structure to become literally anything. And right now, after consuming every animal in the lab, it sits in a cocoon behind a glass case. Mike wants to kill it, but Barbara stays his hand. Surely, this leads to a happy ending where unicorns dance around rainbows, and all our heroes remain unscathed! Maybe...

There is a LOT to like here. First off, I wanna start with the writers, one of whom is the great Jim Wynorski, who directed Chopping Mall. Jim self-confesses to love directing sequels to fairly unknown franchises. His directing work on 976-Evil 2 and Deathstalker 2 are better than their originals, I would argue. I see why Roger liked him. His pacing is fast and his dialogue is entertaining. Popcorn fare at its finest! The set design was also amazing! It was recycled from Roger's previous Galaxy of Terror film and done by a small time guy named James Cameron (he will get famous one day). He actually took Styrofoam fast food boxes and cut them in half, glued them all over the wall, and painted it to appear textured! It had to have been a painstaking process considering Roger's budget and time constraints. And it's one of those things that when you notice it, you can't unsee it! And to me, at least, it makes it much more entertaining.

This is a Corman productions through and through. It was actually the first film that came to my mind when I heard of his passing. I grew up on Corman. That man shaped my entire B-movie appreciation. Slumber Party Massacre is one of my top 10 horror films of all time. Many of Corman's films live in my top 50 for sure! A couple fun Roger facts on this before I wrap it up. According to IMDb, at a screening for the film, Corman smacked the head of the person in front of him who was watching the film, for laughing during the film. As he was leaving, the man he smacked dumped soda on him from the upper balcony! So what did Roger do? He went and cut 6 minutes of the film! The "laughing" section, of course!

This film's director Holzman said that Roger approached him and was quoted as saying, "You have four days to write, produce, and direct a 7-to-8 minute opening of a space movie. I'll give you an astronaut and a robot, and if you need inspiration, I've always wanted to do a version of Lawrence of Arabia in space." And that's just how Roger worked. He knew the business inside and out. With a career spanning from 1954 to 2024, there really wasn't anything Roger hadn't seen or done. I, personally, will miss him greatly, and I will treat this man's legacy with respect and reverence! We lost a legend, folks. But boy! He left us about 400 films to remember him by!  

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